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North Africa 11, Germany 11, Gaddafi 8, Eu 7, Marshall 7, Us 7, U.s. 7, Savannah 6, Libya 6, Council Of Dads 5, Frankfurt 5, Bruce Feiler 4, The Council Of Dads 3, Un Security Council 3, U.n. 3, Linda 3, Italy 3, Georgia 3, Egypt 3, United States 2,
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  PBS    Sino Tv Early Evening News    Series/Special.  

    March 3, 2011
    6:00 - 6:59pm PST  

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>> hello, and rebutted. welcome to the "journal" on dw- tv. i have the news. >> and of the business news. >> these are the headlines. >> reports from pro-to dauphin forces had carried out another air strike on a key oil port. investigators in germany believe the fatal gun attack on two u.s. airmen in frankfurt airport was politically motivated. and and ecb interest rate hike is on the horizon as the bank frets over mounting inflation. ♪
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>> france and britain say there will support a no-fly zone over libya if the situation there gets worse. the french foreign ministry says the two countries plan to do everything they can to increase pressure on moammar gaddafi. the libyan leader once more airstrikes on the rebels thursday morning. witnesses say warplanes bombed an oil port. the rebels have appealed for outside help, asking for u.n.- backed airstrikes to end the conflict. >> in the battle zone town, rebels are burying the dead. thousands turned out to join the funeral procession. there are mercenaries hired by gaddafi. they're preparing for new attacks on their town, a strategic seaport with key oil facilities, after recent air strikes, a ground attack by gaddafi's troops appears imminent.
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>> we're ready to face gaddafi's men. our scouts are telling us they are headed this way. >> the rebels of been encouraged by their successes earlier in the week when they managed to fight off a loyalist defensive. but there were losses. this footage shows some of the fighting. >> we want them to stop the bloodbath, because we are peaceful people. it is terrific that gaddafi would do this to his own people. >> but gaddafi clearly aims to win back control of his country, both militarily and politically. as arab league foreign ministers met in egypt, the libyan seats remained in the. under discussion, a peace plan drawn up by hugo chavez, a close friend of gaddafi. it suggested mediation by a team from latin america, europe, and the middle east. some reports say gaddafi have it -- has accepted the plan. but the opposition has rejected any talks with the embattled
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leader. benghazi is relatively quiet. but many here believe real peace is impossible while gaddafi is still in power. >> german foreign missed not -- minister guido westerwelle spoke out firmly against any military intervention in libya. he says such a move could be counterproductive. but westerwelle promised to provide humanitarian aid, in particular, the deployment of planes and ships to help with the evacuation of thousands of egyptians currently stranded on the border region between libya and tunisia. the egyptians for one of the biggest migrant communities in libya. but since the unrest began, tens of thousands have tried to flee the country. the united nations is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. earlier, i spoke with our correspondent and asked how secure benghazi is that the weather had been any renewed fighting there. >> no, not in benghazi.
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everything is happening about two hundred kilometers away from here to the west. that is the western towns where rebels are controlling. it is the city were cut off the's forces yesterday tried an offensive and try to regain some control of the area that was taken away from them in the east. but this office didn't -- this offensive, at the end of the day, the rebels took over the town again. today, we have had several airstrikes against the port city. the news is that the pro-gaddafi forces are planning another attack. >> benghazi is a point of departure for many migrants trying to leave the country. our opposition forces their handling the refugees' situation? >> there is no refugee problem here really. very few refugees. if they leave, they leave to the egyptian border.
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everything is open. no problem from this side to leave. the western area is a completely different story, of course put a very difficult for people to leave. a lot of people have been stuck there. and once again to the other side of the border, to tunisia, it is a problem because they are overwhelmed with the amount of refugees coming over. but in the east, there's no real big flow of refugees. >> ok, thank you for that update from benghazi. western powers are looking at the best possible ways to help north africa move towards democracy. and meeting in rome, delegates from the eu and the mediterranean union gathered to discuss various options. europe and its neighbors along the southern and eastern rim of the mediterranean have long debated opening borders to exports and workers. but progress has been thwarted by the reluctance to allow cheap food and labor from africa into the block.
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>> italy was the host for this meeting of lawmakers from eu member states and of the mediterranean countries. delegates from across the middle east and north africa traveled to rome to take part. a tunisian and egypt were absent. their parliaments have been dissolved, and the political situation there remains unclear. many of those attending agreed it was time to bring an end to the violence and of the dictatorships in north africa. >> it is our goal to support the process of democratization in north africa, so that we can finally have reliable and a democratic governments to work with. >> but there was a mixed response to such calls for freedom and democracy from other north african countries. >> what we need, above all, is for our people to have better lives, to be able to find jobs, and to live in better conditions. that would have positive consequences for the eu and all our european neighbors.
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there would be less illegal migration and fewer dangers for tourists. >> and there were calls for europe to be less preoccupied with the securing of its external borders. >> of course, those who are already here cannot just be sent back with this situation as it is. so our goal is to create attractive development possibilities on african soil as quickly as possible. it is not enough just to build refugee camps. we have to take steps to promote the economies there. >> and while there are still points of disagreement, there is a consensus that something needs to be done to address the pressing concerns in the region. >> here in germany, federal prosecutors said they believe the attack on u.s. troops at frankfurt airport was motivated by islamic extremism. two airmen were killed and two wounded when gunmen opened fire on a bus filled with military personnel.
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the suspect is now in police custody. >> police are out in force at germany's biggest airport, both in uniform and under cover. authorities have put more officers out on patrol. some with bulletproof vests and a machine guns and more details that emerged about the gunman, a 21-year-old cause of low- he grew up in germany and the work that an international post sorting center close to the crime scene is facebook page, under an islamic fighters pseudonym, indicates he had contacts with muslim extremist outside germany. >> the leads we found after evaluating his internet activity do indicate that we're dealing with the radicalized muslim. add to that the fact that he changed his profile name from his real name to his islamic fighters name. >> neighbors in frankfurt said they had no idea he had been radicalized. >> i am sure he was religious, but he was a normal blow, a
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completely normal. we're shocked. >> the gunman fired nine shots at a bus carrying u.s. servicemen. two men were killed and another is still in critical condition. >> earlier, i spoke to a member of the german institute for international security affairs, and i asked him one more he knew about the possible islamist background to this attack. >> well, we already do know that the perpetrator is an islamist militants. he stood in connection with several creatures here in germany and especially in frankfurt. so it is for sure that it is an islamist terrorist attack. >> do you see an increased risk in germany generally, or is this just a loan will scenario? >> well, it seems as if this is a lone wolf scenario, but there
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has been an increase risk in germany since 2007. since 2007, there is an increasing number germans going to train in pakistan with al qaeda and other organizations. at the same time, these organizations target us in order to force the government to withdraw our troops from afghanistan. the danger is very real here in the country. >> the terror a large double- alert level has only recently been lowered following last year's warning of terrorist attacks. do you think the government will put those increased security measures back in place? >> well, i am not sure. the government might, of course, react. according to what i know from my sources in the security apparatus, practically all these security services are on high alert. nothing has changed since last year. everybody thought for months already that an attack might be imminent, and here it is. >> from the german institute
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for international security affairs, thank you for joining us. german president christian wulff has appointed new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle, prompted when there was a the resignation from the defense minister on tuesday. this man will be taking over. until now, he has been germany's interior minister. he's a member of angela merkel's christian democrat party. the resignation came following allegations that he had plagiarized much of his doctoral thesis. the interior ministry will now be headed by the parliamentary leader of bavaria's christian social union. their fears of inflation in europe. here is more. >> this news to many people by surprise. the european central bank shook financial markets thursday by signaling an interest rate hike, which could come as soon as next month. that is much earlier than
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markets expected. the ecb is responding to increasing inflationary pressures on commodities markets. >> the ecb has kept the base rate at 1% for now, but the bank president gives a pretty clear signals that a hike is on the horizon. the bank is worried by rising inflation, fueled by spiraling prices for fuel and commodities. >> we are mentioning that we're in a posture of strong vigilance. and my understanding of the position of the governing is in line with such assessments that we did in the past. an increase of interest rates in the next meeting is possible. >> the market is also awash with cheap money. but that is also proline prices, keeping inflation down is the central bank's number one priority.
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but it is currently running at 2.4%, above its target of the news of a probable rate hike took a lot of observers by surprise. they predicted it would not come before the fall. >> german stocks remained largely unfazed by the rate hike warning. here's the rub up of the today's trading -- here is a wrap up of today's trading. >> some call it the shock therapy by the ecb. at least it was a very big surprise that the ecb may raise interest rates already in april. but investors have been quite calm after hearing this news. the dax went up slightly. this shows that investors fear inflation more than a little bit more expensive money. also, the euro went up sharply. because of that, if interest rates will be raised in the euro area, the year will be more
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attractive than the dollar for investors. >> let's take a look as the closing market numbers. in frankfurt, the blue-chip dax closed over 0.5% up. euro stoxx 50 gain 0.3%, 2969. in new york, the dow industrials are currently going up, 12,271. the euro is ready for $1.3955 at the u.n. food and agricultural organization confirmed the food price index rose in february for the eighth consecutive time. the fao says prices topped the 2008 peak, which sparked food riots in several countries at the time. -prices helped trigger the wave of unrest currently sweeping north africa and the middle east. >> the various times -- of various types of wheat-based pratt are stable throughout the arab world. people in egypt are having to pay more for their traditional bread.
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the u.n. food and agriculture organization says that is due to the recent upheavals there. wheat prices were already high following the extreme weather and drought in many parts of the world recently. the food price index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices up a basket of food commodities. it has risen constantly since june 2010. the fao expects harvests to improve for the current year but fears prices will continue to rise. agricultural producers rely on oil-based fertilizers and fuel some of the north ever been in the middle east unrest as send oil prices spiraling upwards. >> german economics minister called a crisis meeting to discuss the failure of the launch of the new super e10 fuel mixture. it has been put on hold for now. it was launched only two months ago. car owners in germany have been reluctant to buy it, and it
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contains 10% ethanol. they're playing it safe by sticking to distended super and super plus, causing supply bottlenecks. the new fuel will be reducing carbon dioxide emissions. back to you. >> thank you. to spread your wings and fly like a bird is an idea that has long fascinated humankind. a new exhibition in berlin explores that dream. the journey stretches from the hot air balloon more than two hundred years ago and the pioneering efforts to get off the ground here in germany. a spiritual uplift with no physical wings, as shamen's experience in a state of trance, is all part of this exhibition entitled "the art of flying fly" right here in the german capital. i wonder if they have anything
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about a bungee jumping? stay tuned for "in depth" and coming up next. ♪ >> people with ideas aimed at halting climate change doing their bit all over the world. >> i save 40% on fuel costs. >> that life is free. we should use it. >> this is clean, renewable energy. >> global ideas, global 3000 on dw-tv.
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>> over the past few weeks, popular uprisings have forced a change in the arab world. but what happens afterwards? this week, the spanish prime minister urged world powers to create something like the marshall plan to help arab states make the transition to democracy. the united states launched the original plan in 1947 to help rebuild western europe in the wake of world war ii. coming up, we will look at what a similar plan could do in north africa. but first, we take a trip back to the original concept and how it worked out. >> post-world war ii europe, an entire continent within it ruins. the victorious allies in the west hoped to avoid mistakes of the past when the end of one
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were planted the seed for the next. the u.s. secretary of state gave a generous program to enable reconstruction. it was the european recovery program, better known as the marshall plan. the u.s. pumped billions of dollars in food aid, raw materials, technical assistance, and investment with emphasis on infrastructure. it was also recognize that the former enemies would have to be major beneficiaries. america's allies, britain and france, received the largest share of the marshall plan aid. the former axis powers, italy, west germany, followed. overall, $14 billion flowed into europe between 1948 and 1952, the equivalent of 80 billion euros in today's currency. but the aid came with a number of strings attached. recipients were expected to maintain stable currencies and open up their markets to cross- border trade. the beginnings of europe's
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single market. and of the u.s. profited as well. as europe once again became a viable export market. the aid was also offered to east germany and other east bloc countries but under massive pressure from the soviet union, they rejected it. another step on the way to division of europe. the marshall plan and laid the groundwork for west germany's economic miracle. and on its 50th anniversary, a grateful nation paid tribute. >> we will never forget what the people of the united states did for us germans. >> the plan was largely successful in its main goals, to prevent another war, to help america's trading partners, and to forge new allies. the legacy of the marshall plan lives on. >> the unrest in libya is putting in an additional burden on the economies in neighboring
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tunisia and egypt, and tens of thousands of people are fleeing the fighting. europe and the u.s. are sending in planes, ships, and money. but analysts say a long-term solution is also needed. what could a marshall plan for these new era of democracies look like, and what role with the mediterranean union play in rebuilding the region? our next report takes a closer look at some of these questions. >> as a mass exodus from libya continues to europe is gearing up for massive aid mission. help is urgently needed. water, medicine, shelter. but in the years to come, a whole region must be revitalized. in brussels, calls are increasing for 21st century marshall plan, amid dire warnings of what is at stake. >> your needs to make up its mind now. what is the role model for these countries? are we going to have a lot of iran or iraq countries? will we have small chinas? or do we want sending that is
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close to europe? >> the union for the mediterranean was launched in paris in 2008. its goal is to create closer ties between the eu and north africa. the union was a pet project of french president nicolas sarkozy. now he says it is time to revisit the alliance. >> looking at current events as they enfold, we must seize the moment and a revitalize the union. >> proposals for european aid from on arising -- modernizing the region's infrastructure, including sewage treatment was to protect the mediterranean. that would serve vital european interests, especially plans for solar power energy production projects. so it is broad consensus with billions of euros over an extended time span. >> there is no question to where eu aid should be directed. for the people who need our support and for the creation of a democratic and open society. we must also support the development of a judicial
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system and help stop corruption. >> we must also open our markets, although that may affect the eu's southern regions, spain, italy, and greece. we must institute in africa at the same quality certification process that is already in place within the eu. that will cost money. and that is the best economic aid we can provide. >> in all, the european union aid plan envisions funding political and economic renewal that will benefit the people of north africa. many european policy makers believe the term marshall plan is a fitting title. >> so is implementing a kind of marshall plan the solution for north africa? put that question to the middle east expert at the association of german chambers of industry and commerce. >> i think it is basically a very good idea to help the
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country's of the southern mediterranean, especially in the current difficult situation. but we should not forget that we have already a framework in place for this purpose, which is the euro mediterranean partnership, which was later re baptized as the mediterranean union. at the what we should do now is, first of all, to adapt the instruments with this framework. second, we should focus on those countries that are making real progress in terms of political and economic reforms. >> so what is the best way to help the economies in the region? >> i think there are many ways in which we can help the economies of the region. one area of particular importance is that location and training. there is an obvious mismatch between what the educational system produces and the needs of the labor market. we have a so-called dual system
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in germany, which combines training on the job with theoretical education in schools. so i think this is something in the field of vocational training which we can offer. >> what about easing trade restrictions and opening up eu markets? >> i think it is another very important field, industrial goods from the southern shore of the mediterranean into already entered the european union duty- free. but for instance, for agricultural goods, there is still a number of restrictions. for instance, in the field of standards, which are very difficult to meet for many southern producers, are also in the existence of seasonal quotas for certain products. and of course, they're much larger problems. the granting of visas which tends to be very restrictive and prevents many exporters from the
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southern shore of the mediterranean to come into the european union. >> given the events in north africa, what kind of economic challenges the think europe will be facing? >> 1 very obvious point is the oil price, which was very high in recent days and weeks. so this is something which, of course, has an impact on german business and european business. but of course, also, i think we would see a very positive development, real long-term political, positive economic development in north africa, this would also be a huge potential for european business. >> thank you for joining us from the as -- thank you for talking to us. >> thank you. >> and that has been our "in depth" at this hour, development
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aid for a marshall plan in north africa. i am meggin leigh. thank you for joining us here on in dw-tv. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- ♪ fis ♪
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ççÑ
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♪ - hi, this is bob scully, and welcome to another edition of the world show, the authors series. you've heard of the un security council, the national security council, but have you heard of the council of dads? it catches the attention, doesn't it? it's the title
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of a book by well-known best- selling author bruce feiler, but the concept itself is fascinating. it's a humanistic initiative that i think only he can fully explain, and he does it very well. here he is. bruce feiler, welcome back. you'll recall that when we did your book abraham, we started with a quote. let's do it again this time with the council of dads. i'm going to go to chapter 18 and string together three different quotes. here we go. first quote: "bonaventure cemetery, just east of savannah, has two side-by- side stone gates at its entrance. the gate on the left has two chiselled stone pillars capped with female figures cradling crosses. it is known as 'the christian gate'. the gate on the right has similar stone pillars topped with stars of david. it's called 'the jewish gate'". now i'm going to skip a bit to the next page: "i gave the attendant my surname. she disappeared into a musty back room, then returned momentarily with six worn
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yellowed cards. each contained the name of someone interred at the cemetery, the date nd place of the person's death, along with date, style, and location of burial. the names were my great-grandparents daisy and melvin feiler, my great- great-uncle edwin cohen, my grandparents alene and edwin feiler, and my uncle stanley feiler". final quote: "i thanked her, returned the cards, and stood up to leave. 'are you going to visit your family?' she asked. 'sort of', i said. really, i came to visit my own gravesite". now, that scene would make a lot of sense if somebody were 65 or 70, but here you are a young man born in 1964 in that situation. how did that scene come to be, and what does it mean? - well, there's a lot into that scene, actually. first of all, i come from savannah, georgia, and it's a place that i love and am very attached to, and in june of 2008--for no particular
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reason other than my wife and i were just approaching our fifth wedding anniversary; we had three-year-old identical twin girls--we had a conversation in which we discussed where we might be buried someday, and my wife, linda, chose that we would be buried in savannah, because we were married there, one of our daughters is named tybee, which is an island not far from bonaventure cemetery. unbeknownst to us, or perhaps beknownst in ways we didn't really understand, two weeks later i had a routine blood test which showed that i had an elevated alkaline phosphatase number, which is a strange enzyme in your blood that none of us had ever heard of, that sent me down a series of scans and tests and mris and x-rays, and about a few weeks later, in early july of 2008, i got a call from my doctor one day. i knew i had something at that point growing in my leg, and she said, "the tumour in your leg is not consistent with a benign tumour". and so suddenly i stopped walking, and it took
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my mind a second to convert that double negative into a much more horrifying negative: "i have cancer". and one of the things that... sort of the rich ironies or painful truths of this story is that that cancer that they found in my left femur--an osteosarcoma that at that point took up half my femur--took me back to savannah, which is a place that i'm from and so connected to, because when i was five, i was hit by a car and broke my left leg in that same place, and for whatever set of reasons, 38 years later, it cancerfied. - and have you ever wondered about the coincidence? have you given any thought to that? do you think it's a coincidence or not? - i don't think it's a coincidence. none of the doctors think it's exactly a coincidence either, but the reality is that an osteosarcoma is a very rare cancer. only 650 americans, for example, get one a year, 85% under 21, so only 100 adults a year get one of these cancers. as a result, we don't know that
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much about it. compare it with breast cancer--200,000 women get it a year; 190,000 men get prostate cancer. so it's very rare. we don't know that much about it, but it seems like too much of a coincidence, and just the location and the entire story, it does seem like there's a connection. - and at that point in the book comes a central, a crucial scene, which i could have quoted as well. you're in manhattan, you learn this news, you break down weeping, but later, two young human beings will pull you out of that funk. let's talk about that. - well, i got crutches. i stumbled home and lay down on my bed, and imagined all the ways my life would change. and then my identical twin daughters--as i said, they had just turned three--came running to meet me, and they kind of, um... they did this dance they had just made up when they turned three a few months earlier. they were kind of spinning faster and faster, kind of going in a circle until they tumbled to the ground, laughing with all the glee in the world, and i crumbled. i kept imagining all the walks i might not take with them,
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or the boyfriends i wouldn't get to scowl at, or the aisles i wouldn't walk down, and for me, bob, i have to say, came back to voice. maybe it is because i'm a writer. would they wonder who i was? would they lack for my approval, my discipline, my love, my voice? and a few days later, i woke up before dawn with, again, a voice kind of going in my head, and it was in this case a letter that i would eventually send to six friends from all parts of my life, asking them to be present in the lives of my daughters-- in effect, to be my voice if i wasn't there to speak to my girls or to answer their questions or to give them a piece of guidance. and i got out of bed--i was crying at that point; i didn't want to wake my wife--and i went and i sat on this couch and i wrapped myself in a blanket, and i said, i'll call this group of men the council of dads. - they would be "dad" if you're not there? - and the second i said it,
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i felt like the word kind of leapt from my head and kind of filled the room around me. it just felt like an old idea. you know how some kids are an old soul? this was somehow an old idea, and it was somehow... at that point i just wanted to live long enough to assemble it, and then ultimately when i started talking to them and asking them what was the advice they would give to my girls, i then realized i should write a book about this, and now here we are two year later where i'm actually doing well, but this council of dads has really transformed our lives, and, as i'm seeing now around the world, transforming the lives of people who have read the book and been touched by the story. - and this is such an imaginative, creative solution, but at the same time it seems to me so hard to do in reality. you began to set down rules right away. two of the rules are intriguing: no family, and only men. - well, what happened was, i mean, you know... i initially thought it was kind of sad,
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and like you said, it was sort of an overwhelming thing, like i shouldn't tell me wife that... you know, there's this idea in the culture these days that we should "happy" our way through a problem, but i didn't want to do that, and i couldn't control myself, really, so i told my wife, and she loved the idea, but she quickly started rejecting my nominees. so she would say, "well, i love him, but i would never ask him for advice". so it turns out that starting a council of dads was a very efficient way to find out what my wife really thought of my friends. - and you have lots of good friends, and most of them are life-long. - yeah, well i have a lot of... i don't have colleagues, right, so i friends. my joke is that my wife has colleagues and no friends, and i have no colleagues and i have friends. so we started knocking heads, so i said, "look, we need a set of rules". and so the rules we settled on were, like you said, no family, only friends. we figured our family would already be there, and in a certain sense, your friends know you differently from your family. we said only men--we were trying to fill the dad space. and then we also said kind of a dad
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or every side. there were some dads who were always going to be there, but there were some we were bickering over. so it was sort of like, "okay, what are different aspects of my personality?" and i think this ended up being a key thing, as i see other people doing it, i think one of the great pieces of advice i can give is to give each dad a role, right. so we had "travel dad", there's "cooking dad", there's "values dad". it turns out--we didn't do this intentionally-- it turns out there's also "rebellion dad", right. so most of my dads are dads themselves but one isn't. he's my kind of tortured romantic poet friend, like he's going to teach them to love beauty and... - in new mexico. - exactly. he takes me to new mexico and talks about learning to love beauty. and he came over recently to go trick-or-treating with the girls, and, hello, like, i'm a parent of young kids. it's like, okay, girls, let's go. upstairs. enough is enough. time to go to bed. brush your teeth. and i look back, and he's, like, stealing chocolate bars from the bag and giving
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them to them behind their backs. so it's like he's "irresponsibility dad". we can't leave him alone with the girls. - and this is like--i mean, now that you're well--this is actually like the un security council--you're stuck with it. you can't actually disband it just because you're well. they're there to stay. - exactly. i can't kick off the soviet union even though they don't have as much power as they used to. right. i mean, in fact, it's funny that you say that about the un--it's the first time someone's made that analogy--because i actually debated a lot whether i should have a president of the council of dads. and i like this idea of rotating seats, like the un security council. but the truth is--and i think this is one of the things that's been so powerful about it--is that linda's really the president. she's sort of the conductor who will be there to guide them if they need it. and i think that one of the things that's been interesting that actually postdates the book is that we had the dads all together for the first time a few months ago when our girls turned five. first of all, they're guys, right, so they're competitive,
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so each one walks in with a bigger and bigger present. and i was like, "no wonder the girls love the council of dads; they have scored entirely". but that night we sat around and each person talked about what the experience meant to them, and i have to say, i mean, they all said-- a few of them said--well, actually all of them said that i'm a little bit of a control freak, but the thing that i've least tried to control in my life has been the council of dads. it's been entirely organic, and what they have done is really about this relationship with the girls. and one of my friends, who's like the inquisitor--he's like kind of "think daddy", teaches them how to ask questions--he's the one who, when i invited him to be in the council of dads rejected the premise, said i'd get better, and we wouldn't need it, said, "you know what, i realized that i'm wrong"-- and he's not a guy who says he's wrong a lot--"because", he said, "i realize that whether we're healthy or sick, or male or female, we all need this group. we cannot have too many adults
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who love our kids, and i realize we all need our own council". - and one thing that struck me too is the kids, of course, are very young, and sometimes they're unsettled and unsure, but they always find a way-- whether you've got one crutch, two crutches--they find tricks, games, ways to get along and ensure that it doesn't affect the family and the family feelings around it. - well, i think that-- a lot of people do wonder about this--we were honest with them, but not too honest. "daddy has a boo-boo leg; daddy has a better leg; he's working with the doctors to get better." in fact, the only problems we had, i would say, were when we weren't honest enough. like, i would go to the hospital a couple of times when i had bad response to the chemo, and we didn't really tell them. they don't have younger siblings, so they've never really seen mommy in the hospital, and that was really a problem, and one of the chapters i'm actually most fond of in the council of dads is the one called "use your words". that's what we would tell the kids all the time. "use your
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words!" right? "stop screaming, use your words!" well, we had to learn that same lesson; we had to use our words and explain to them. but i think that, in the end, i think perhaps we could see they did become an ounce more compassionate or a dose more caring. we would see them run to embrace the child with the amputated leg at the playground, or we had a kids' book with pictures of-- - yeah, and they spotted that character, the rabbit with the crutches. - yeah, the rabbit with the crutches and the back, and i think that there was this wonderful... and i think that also it kind of reminded them of what their parents mean. tybee, one of my daughters, had this wonderful line. she said, "daddy, i have so much love in my body for you, i can't stop giving you hugs and kisses, and when i have no more love left, i just drink milk, because that's where love comes from". and eden came to my bed--this is the story you just, i think, were alluding to from the book. eden came to my bed one night. it was 4:30 in the morning and she had some nightmare or something, and i went to take her back to her bed, and i had
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to lift my leg out of the bed at that point, and she reached for my crutches and handed them to me, and if i could cling to one memory from that year, it would be and my four-year-old daughter walking down a darkened hallway at night with these five little fingers grasping the spongy handle underneath my hand, because at that point, i didn't need the crutch, because i was walking on air. - yeah, i can believe it; i can see it. they had a kind of effortless optimism, whereas the adults have to work themselves into optimism, but i was also intrigued that you got a lot into the story of your grandparents, and you did that right after you got this news. now, what was the reasoning there? - well, i think it was a couple of things. i think on the one hand, i really was trying to reflect back on my life, and since this book in so many ways was about voice, and kind of capturing my voice, i thought this was a compelling opportunity to go back through my life and try to figure out what voices had really shaped
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mine. i would say that was one reason. and as you're saying, i mean, the book itself unfolds with a series of letters that chronicle the journey--portraits of each of these dads and the life lesson i want them to embody, and then portraits of the various men in my life-- my father, my two grandfathers, father figures--and i think that really gets to the other reason, which is that this book became-- though i didn't set out to it-- it became really an exploration of being male today, and how fatherhood has changed over time. i would say this is the thing that women in particular have responded to with this book, and what they say, that they've learned so much-- even indirectly about their own husbands--about how men communicate with one another. and i think a classic example of this is my paternal grandfather. he grew up--i grew up in savannah, georgia, as we were saying earlier--he grew up in the house immediately behind us. it was like right out of faulkner. and he got sick late in his life, and had a hard time dealing with it. he had
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parkinson's, and it was a time when men--this is a kind of a fourth-generation southerner-- didn't talk about these things. and one day he took his own life. it was a month before i was going to graduate from high school, and i think for a long time i believed that that really grew out of the fact that he couldn't express his feelings in any meaningful way. he left-- - his suicide note is very terse. - yeah, very terse. "i cannot live a sick man". but he had left behind at the time of his death 28 cassette tapes in which he chronicled his rise from dirt poverty in mississippi to a small-town lawyer in savannah, georgia, and my father had them transcribed, but no one had really read them, and when i got sick i went back and read them. and what was striking was that in these 28 cassette tapes, he never mentioned his mother by name, he never mentioned his wife by name, or their courtship, or their marriage; my dad, his brother, only in passing; the grandchildren,
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not at all. so i think that in a way he was really longing to tell his story, but his whole life he had no one to tell his story to. maybe in a kind of fundamental way, he was alone. now, compare that to the men of my generation. you know, i was having these six conversations with these men in the council of dads-- - it's the opposite. it's the polar opposite. - oh, my gosh, and all we're doing is talking about our friends, our feelings, our fears--even our weight. i mean, linda was like, "the things you guys are talking about are what the moms talk about at school drop-off". and so i think that that does... i think women are just kind of shocked by this in particular, a little bit relieved, like, "oh, that's what you guys talk about at the locker room door or when you're out fishing?" i think there is a kind of way-- perhaps it's awkward, perhaps it's not always smooth--in which men are trying to learn how to talk to other men. - and just to end on your ancestors, the collection of epitaphs. let's talk about that. - well, i learned that my
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mother's father, whom i never knew in some ways--his name was benjamin samuel--b.s.; my name is bruce steven feiler, and the b.s. is there--that it turned out that at the time of his death in 1961, he had left behind the world's largest collection of epitaphs: 9,000 epitaphs, which he had collected over 31 years. he would collect them every night. his wife would type them up, and he had them incredibly organized. they were donated to the smithsonian institution, the museum in washington, dc, and, again, i don't think anybody had seen them since 1960--i mean, who had the time to flip through-- so i went, i actually took my mother, and we went again-- i was on crutches at this time-- and i read every one. so here this is the year in which i'm thinking about death and in some ways trying to leave behind the story of my life if that's what was going to happen. and it turned out that my grandfather collected death epitaphs. it was an astonishing discovery. and then i went after this to baltimore, maryland to look
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at his gravesite where... he had no epitaph! - that's the punch line. - my brother was, like, "it's the greatest example of writer's block you can think of". but for me it was, again, a way to connect to him, kind of doing these big projects, sort of like all-consuming, words and stories, and thinking about dying, and i think that one of the points that he makes--and there's a little introduction to this book--is about the value of this kind of experience of thinking about epitaphs because it takes you out of your everyday experience. and i think this is one of the things that i've learned from the entire episode of the council of dads in my life-- is that the act of thinking about dying doesn't sit on my shoulders as a burden. it feels to me not a weight on my shoulders, but like an engine at the back. like get out of bed, get out of the house, take your kids, take a walk, make a memory. it's this thing that kind of has propelled
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us all to live our lives. - it's what makes you say that your lost year was also your jubilee year. - you know, the idea of jubilee goes back to the first time you and i talked about the bible, and i've written a lot of books about the bible, and there's a quote on the liberty bell in philadelphia proclaiming "liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof", and that comes from the book of leviticus and from a passage in which it talks about how every seven years you're supposed to let the land lay fallow; every seven sets of seven years, the land gets an extra year of rest. now, what does it say we should do during that year? be reunited with our family and surrounded with the ones we love. and that fiftieth year is called the "jubilee year"-- it's the origin of that term, and it became very meaningful to me that my lost year fighting this disease was my jubilee year. i was surrounded by these people. i was reminded of what was valuable, and in a lot of ways, by laying fallow, i kind of planted the seeds
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for a healthier future. - and even though you're conscious of all this and you decide to put it down on paper, you don't gloss over the boring, painful, or routine aspects of life. at some point you say there's laundry to be done-- there's all these great things to do, but there's laundry to be done--so life during that year was extremely hard. we can't gloss over that. - it was very hard. i mean, i had a very rare treatment-- a very rare disease and a very aggressive treatment: four years of chemo; a 15-hour surgery in which doctors rebuilt my leg, a surgery so rare, only two people before me have ever survived it; and then the five months of chemo after that. so it was quite an ordeal and it definitely stripped me down. at one point, i was probably 30 pounds lighter than i am right now. obviously no hair, and things like that. and it was a very difficult ordeal, but what was interesting--i mean, there were times i looked like a living ghost, but what was fascinating, i have to say, certainly
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in retrospect, is that people were incredibly attracted to that. like, people came to our bedside, surrounded us, created this sense of community. when we had twins, my wife and i thought it would be all hands on deck, right. "oh, let's all help"; instead it was, "everybody run the other way". when i got sick, it was the opposite. we thought it would be, "everybody run the other way"; instead it was, "all hands on deck". and so it was an incredible communal and community-building experience. - and you are blessed with a doctor who's quite a philosopher of his own. he quotes epaminondas, the roman general, he quotes satchel paige. he swoops down with these messages of strength just when they're needed. - well, i'm glad you brought him up. his name is dr. john healey. and, by the way, healey? great name for a doctor. i went to see him on the year anniversary of my diagnosis, and i said to him, "what if my daughters comes to you one day and say, 'what should we learn from this experience?' what would you tell
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them?" and he's a man of pauses. i mean, he'll take three seconds between every word. i mean, you think like you've just called his mother a harlot or something. but he paused about as long as i had ever heard anybody pause, and he said, "well, i would tell your daughters what i know, and what i've learned as a doctor, and that is, 'everybody dies, but not everybody lives, and i want you to live'", and that is the single most-quoted line to me from the council of dads, and the thing i'm maybe most proud of in there. everybody dies, not everybody lives, and i think that is really what we learned, and when i gathered all these dads onto one place, and i kind of wrote down the life lessons i learned from them--approach the cow, pack your flip-flops, don't see the wall--these kind of things that have become the truest thing. there's a table behind me and you can't really see it, but it's got those quotes now on the table where we eat dinner every night. and we looked at it, and
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i realized, you know what this is? this is like a guidebook of living. i mean, that's what i want it to be for my girls, and as we've seen the book touch people around the world, it's really sort of a handbook of how you can live your life without going through some of the misery that we all went through around here. - and with all this experience that has enriched your life in the jubilee year, how do you see the future now? - well, i see--obviously, as any survivor sees the future--i see it as precious, but i see it as something to be conquered in a certain way, and i think that the main way i see it is i don't see it as a lonely path, really. i think that parenting these days has often become a solo sport, and people are often overwhelmed by it. i think there's something in this world today that conspires against friendship in a very core way. we have our work, we have our family, but friends somehow get pushed aside. i think the number
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one thing that we have all felt from our experience with the council of dads is this incredible feeling of security that has come from having these people--it's almost like recreating that old extended neighbourhood we either knew growing up or maybe somehow fantasized about growing up, where friends and neighbours and relatives are kind of in and out of your house. that's really what the council of dads has become for all of us. it's been this feeling of community, of life, and of love. - well, bruce feiler, that is so well put. long life to you, and i mean it, and thank you so much for the council of dads and for this book and for this interview. - great to be back with you. thank you so much. - bruce feiler's book, which i heartily encourage you to read, is called the council of dads, published by william morrow, and that was the authors series of the world show this week. i'm bob scully. have a great week. thanks.
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closed captioning by sette inc.
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